ichigaya station - edo castle moat

What does Ichigaya mean?

OK, so I’ve wanted to write about Ichigaya for a long time, but it is connected to a few other place names which have made it difficult to cover until now. I’m just gonna through this out there now and say my gut instinct tells me none of the etymologies we’ll see today are correct and we’ll never know the true etymology. That said, there’s a little Ota Dokan connection, so heads up to all the Ota Dokan fans out there. Continue reading What does Ichigaya mean?

What does Ushigome mean?

牛込 Ushigome (Crowd of Cows) 。 。 牛 ushi cow 込 komi[i] swarming, huddling, amassed, crowded, “in bulk” 。 According to Japanese Wikipedia[ii], in 701, in accordance to the Taihō Code, a livestock ranch was established in this area. In fact, two were established which were sometimes referred to as 牛牧 gyūmaki a cow ranch and 馬牧 umamaki a horse ranch. These two locations came to be referred to as 牛込 Ushigome and 駒込 Komagome. The fact that there was a cattle/dairy ranch here in the Asuka Period is a known fact (it’s documented). The horse ranch is a different … Continue reading What does Ushigome mean?

Why is Shinjuku called Shinjuku?

新宿 Shinjuku (New Shuku → New Post Town) The word 宿 shuku (宿場 shuku-ba “rest town”) was used in the Edo Period to refer to post towns on the highway system connecting various feudal domains. When a certain daimyō built his lower residence in the area, a new post town was created on the Kōshū Kaidō post road and named “new post town.” The daimyō family who lived here was called 内藤 (Naitō), so the name of the town became Naitō–Shinjuku (New Shuku Naito). The name Naito-Shinjuku persisted until the 1920’s. As a post town, there would have been many places to drink and get laid. … Continue reading Why is Shinjuku called Shinjuku?